Elizabeth Wittingham·11 September 2018·6 min read
look at us health freaks

being healthy has never been cooler

The traditional stereotype of a student tends to surround themes such as drunkenness, tiredness, being overweight and usually always being ill with the fresher’s flu.

However, recent statistics have actually pointed to the complete opposite. Our generation, despite their enjoyment of the student lifestyle, is a relatively health conscience one!

According to a recent survey focusing on student lifestyles, only 30 percent of students partake in social drinking, with more and more turning away from the pastime of heading out to clubs and bars, many of which have closed in the past year.

Students are health conscience.

33 percent of students questioned head to the gym on a regular basis whilst 1 in 5 young people have claimed that they are now making an effort to head to at least one fitness class a week.

Many young people also claim that they make an effort to stay healthy, from walking to university- with 75 percent of students living within walking distance to their place of study- through to using home workouts grabbed off YouTube.

Students are also becoming more health conscience with what they are eating!

According to the Independent, the millennial generation are becoming ‘ sober socialites ‘, opting for kale smoothies and protein shakes as opposed to shots.

Instead of a tray of cheesy chips (although many students do grab this occasionally), the rise of the avocado is upon us.

Thanks to the rise of healthy eating accounts on Instagram, more and more students are pursuing a healthier lifestyle, heading to bistro bars that serve a vegan range instead of hitting up Wetherspoons.

The rise of healthy eating amongst students is not really a surprise.

A recent study by the Independent has revealed that the average millennial consumes just five units on average of alcohol each week- that’s the equivalent of just two small glasses of wine or just two pints of beer.

It now seems apparent that young people are more likely to brag about how long it has been since they had a drink as opposed to the last time that they got terribly drunk!

As opposed to our older generation, more young people are opting for a vegetarian lifestyle to save on the cost of meat. Whilst the number of vegans in the UK is flying high at a staggering 3.5 million people, veganism has skyrocketed to make up seven percent of the whole UK population!

There are now many coffee shops, spearheaded by young people, offering vegan cakes, healthy salads, and coffees made with milk substitutes.

There are endless influencers on social media who encourage a healthy lifestyle, whilst the rise of ‘ego travel’ is encouraging young people to sway away from drinking holidays to enjoy a much healthier option.

Instagram models are huge – selling whatever they can get their hands on from diet shakes through to tummy flattening teas.

Likewise, you can’t really watch a YouTube vlog now without witnessing an influencer heading to their local juice bar for a cheeky ginger shot and a wheatgrass smoothie!

Even the celebrity band E folks off Made in Chelsea seem to all be pursuing a vegan, vegetarian or at least healthy lifestyle. Long-term member Louise released a healthy living book whilst Chelsea sisters Tiffany and Lucy are opening their very own boutique vegan restaurant!

Finally, you only have to turn over to ITV2 to check out the contestants on Love Island who are all sporting their healthy, toned bodies to perceive an ideal that we are all rather obviously striving towards.

Despite the clear positives of a healthy lifestyle, are students and young people pursuing it purely for aesthetic reasons- driven not by our health, but by our obsession with painting ourselves as healthy, ‘put together’ individuals online?

In the words of the Independent: ‘ as a generation we’re brought up to be paranoid about employers finding us on social media, and as such, it’s not uncommon for people to use their middle name instead of their last name on Facebook and it’s rare to post a photo of you or your friends looking drunk.’

Countless people strive for the idea of perfection online. Yet although they could be posting an image of a kale salad on their Instagram, are they actually heading to McDonald’s in their spare time?

There have also been several controversies surrounding social media and the flogging of a healthy lifestyle.

Kim Kardashian came under fire for her endorsement of appetite suppressing lollipops and was made to remove her post, whilst many Instagram influencers are regularly called out online with many people claiming that the ‘celebs’ do not even try out the products they passionately claim to support and endorse.

Then, of course, there is the idea of aesthetics and health, with some young people undoubtedly sliding into further bodies issues through becoming obsessed with the gym and dieting.

In answer to our lack of alcohol consumption, it could be linked to the fact that we as a generation are poorer than the previous generation were at our age…

Despite this, change is good! Breaking the stereotypes of the unhealthy student is good and in many ways, it is refreshing for students painting themselves as perfectly competent people who are aware of their health, aware of their ethics and keen to get feeling better and leading a healthier lifestyle.

70 percent of UK children are currently counted as overweight or obese so it is encouraging to see young people setting a great example that a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be expensive, is perfectly obtainable and is one hundred percent in reaching distance of everyone.

We might be painted as avocado lovers, but who doesn’t love lots of healthy fats on rye bread? Exactly.